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Cortland Finnegan says he knew Miami's plays

Lost in the strange and compelling game that was Sunday's 29-17 victory by the Dolphins over the Titans was this item in my friend Jason Cole's column for Yahoosports.com that should tell you a little something about the offense the Dolphins currently run.

Now, that offense had a good day on Sunday, rolling up more points than any other game this season. But we know that very offense has been under fire for not producing this year.

We know the statistical rankings are bad. And we know, that several players have been borderline frustrated with that lack of production.

You saw an open and obvious show of that frustration Sunday when Brandon Marshall caught a pass and then slung the ball to the sideline when he got up from the turf.

So why was Marshall, who didn't talk to the media after the game, needing to release that emotion? Maybe it was the fact he caught only three passes for 34 yards against Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

And maybe it was that Finnegan says he knew exactly what play the Dolphins were about to run and what pattern Marshall was about to run -- before it happened.

"Sometimes I would be calling out his routes because they told me I would have a chance to follow him around all game, play him one-on-one," Finnegan said. "So I felt like I needed to be prepared and we would laugh sometimes because I would be calling his routes out based on the formations and the splits."

Cole apparently asked if a cornerback should be able to indentify what's coming before the snaps and Finnegan suggested he could before admitting why he could readily decipher Miami's coming play.

"OK, I know, but I watched every single game Miami played this year and the formation doesn't lie unless they're trying to trick you," Finnegan said. "The formations don't lie and he didn't like that."

Finnegan had five tackles, four passes defensed and an interception against the Dolphins, but that is not the point.

The point, indeed, the concern is that one player can spend one week of film study watching the Dolphins and apparently diagnose what offensive coordinator's Dan Henning's offense was about to run simply by looking at the formations and splits.


Are you kidding me?

By the way, I have seen this before. It happened in 1997 when the New England Patriots figured out Miami's offense to the point defensive players were signaling calls on the field before Dan Marino snapped the ball. It was partially the reason Jimmy Johnson fired then offensive coordinator Gary Stevens.

I'm not suggesting Henning is about to be fired or should be fired. (He's probably going off into retirement after the season anyway from what folks are whispering.)

But maybe it would be a wise idea to change a couple of things here and there so that enterprising defensive players don't continue to yell out Brandon Marshall's coming patterns before, you know, he runs them.

Just sayin'.

Oh, and while I'm on the topic: Cole's column also addressed Randy Moss and his first game with the Titans. That leads me to an item in a local story last week that got blown into news that folks are actually believing despite the fact it isn't accurate.

It was reported that Moss or his representative or his camp made it clear to the Dolphins the receiver didn't want to play in Miami and so the Dolphins, previously eager to get Moss, backed off.

Um, wrong. Again.

The facts are Moss very much would have welcomed playing for the Dolphins. He liked the idea of coming to Miami. He has a house down here somewhere. He is friends with Chad Pennington and considers the Dolphins to be contenders.

The truth is the Dolphins studied Moss and had an initial interest in Moss but once they dug deeper, decided not to claim him. It had nothing to do with an understanding from Moss or others that he didn't want to come to Miami if the Dolphins claimed him.

Moss didn't want to play in St. Louis. But Miami?

He had no problem with that.


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Nice argument back and forth fellas but keep it civil. This is a nice Christian based website

Does the fact that every team can read Henning's offense surprise anyone anymore???? Dan Henning is so predictable it's a joke. Then everyone in the media always brags about how much Henning knows about football and how many years he's been in the NFL. Dan Henning is a joke. His formations are inferior, he can't call up big plays over and over again, he's wasting Marshall with his poor offensive gameplans, and defenses around the league can read us like a book. The quarterback might as well hold a giant sign so everyone can read the play in the stadium because they are the only ones who may not know them. Everyone on the field sure as hell does.

I think its comical that as an organization we are so tight lipped and all...but yet a DB can watch 8 weeks of game film and pickup our offencive plays..sounds like hennings joe shyt-for-brains theory is out the window..
what a joke henning is..retire now please because u suck henning!

I am now thoroughly convinced that all Dolphin sports writers are morons, NFL playbooks are 3 to 4 inches thick and some Titans DB says he knew our plays and Mando agrees. Dude Marshall has been getting double and triple teamed but Mando buys into this crap. Then you got Hyde over there at the Sun Sentinel asking if Miami should keep an eye on Vick....like Philly is going to let him go. Miami beat writers are negative, unrealistic, and completely pretentious. No wonder Phin fans in Miami are so pessimistic.

Exactly Drew. Add the fact we just scored 29 points on a top ten defense, the second most they have given up all year long while going through three of our QBs and injuries to Jake Long and Berger. I mean how seriously can you take this stuff? We could score 40 and people would be complaining because a nose tackle would say he knew when he was going to get double teamed

I agree Adam and Drew. Why do you think both Fasano and Hartline had receiving yards of 100 each, teams are scheming to take Marshall out of play.

This is funny, they knew the plays and still lost? WoW, the Titans must REALLY suck!

really glad to see fasano and hartline step up we already kno wat we got with bess and bm hopefully bm can see some 1 on 1 more often

Sounds like Adam is a genius and he is probably right. Thats what good coaches do they sign players to the highest contract at there position to make them a decoy. But we are the morons....incredible!

Maybe the Dolphins are so predictable because Henne is too chicken sh&* to audible!

Old news, Cole and SS had this story on Sunday.

This should be a kick in the nads for the coaching staff, pathetic. I guess the team didn't study its own tendencies during the off week. Isn't that some underlings job?

Henning, please retire early!

time to get the torches and pitchforks out to storm the stadium!!!! this verifies everything we have been saying!!!!! Roast Henning! Comedy roast of course, since everyone's laughing at our easy to read offense....crap!

Khalid, declare a jihad on the infidel Henning!

Glad you revealed this story. This story does not surprise me yet pissses me off too. Henning has been holding this team back for 3 years and stunting the development of Henne.
Sparano has signed off of this offensive approach for 3 years. I just do not believe Sparano has the perspective necessary to be successful in a modern passing league. I’m hoping for Gruden because he has stated interest in having an aggressive approach to offense.
I would like to see University of Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich get into the Dolphin coaching mix somehow.
Bring some excitement to South Florida. Let’s see a team that scores some TD’s. The D is getting there and I’d love to see them play with a lead more too.
Looking for the Dolphins to kick ass Thursday night!
Go Dolphins!

Ed Reed said the same thing in relation to Henne's progressions. The Ravens knew where Henne was going with the ball and not because he was staring down receivers! Brandon Marshall got close to saying the same thing after the season's fourth loss. Henning might still be using the exact same plays from 40 years ago! That's a lot of film to study!

Tyler Thigpen may be the Fins answer at QB. The question was asked if Sporano and Henning could tame Thigpen. I love Henne but he's been tamed in our predictable offense. Maybe Thigpen's unorthodox approach is what the team needs to surprise their opponents.

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